Levin, Salovey, and the Mess at Yale

Levin, Salovey, and the Mess at Yale
AP Photo/Jessica Hill

Peter Salovey is a nice man, a well-liked man. He arose to his current position as President of Yale University, no doubt in part, due to his amiable personal qualities. In my days as an undergraduate, he was the affable Dean of Yale College, with a face partially obscured by a bushy avuncular mustache. Salovey never fit the profile of the detached, eminent Ivy League administrator reigning down from on high. Instead he was eminently approachable. He was known for playing the banjo in an all-faculty bluegrass band. He published research on emotional intelligence. He gave off sensitive dad vibes.

Salovey shaved his mustache a few months after I graduated. But I am sure his approachable personality remains intact. When members of the Yale Corporation—the governing board of the university—looked for a new president in 2012, they could hardly be blamed if they felt they needed a sensitive man for the job. Being president of Yale these days means presiding over ground zero for our nation's oversensitivity crisis—centered on racial, political, and sexual identity.

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